Pinon NHA office insulting, disrespectful

FROM THE READERS, March 8, 2012

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J an. 9, 2011, we tenants of Whippoorwill housing had a meeting about Maggie James, residential specialist of Pinon NHA Management Office. The approach of her introduction was unprofessional and nowhere near perpetuating what NHA claims as their guiding principle in service to the people.

This was a meeting supposedly to inform us of a renovation plan/project soon to begin that would require temporary relocation for all of us tenants.

With a little research, I have learned there are rules that mandate appropriate relocation and acquisition that requires a process ensuring that we as tenants are properly accommodated with a comparable replacement home.

Instead James stated to us tenants, "You have to move out, move back to your sheep camps and/or hogans" and continued, "Your children are lazy and unmotivated."

"You tenants at Whippoorwill NHA housing are always fighting and shooting!" then added, "Those of you who have been charged with criminal charges in the past and those of you who are always delinquent on your rent payment will not be eligible to move back into your home that you moved out!"

Also she added, "This is not your house so hurry up and move out!"

She also mentioned, "... You have no choice so sweep out your old hogans and move back into them."

Sheep camps and hogans do not meet the required safe, decent and sanitary homes that are functionally equivalent to the displacement dwelling.

We tenants have questions:

1. Why the haste to move although there are no available homes to be relocated into while our home is being renovated?

2. What triggered the renovation? Are we exposed something that we have not been properly informed of and how many homes are under renovation under NHA?

Before this sudden meeting we have not been properly informed of this plan. With the size of NHA organization it is prudent to at least involve us for public comment. We certainly have some suggestions for the betterment of our community, so allowing our input is inevitable instead we are kept in the dark.

We all have been extremely concerned because we have no place to move to while Pinon NHA office is forcing us to move out. It has been very unsettling that Maggie James is directing a slanderous tone at us and talking us down as if we are sheep. While she thinks she can pull the wool over our eyes.

Pinon NHA office's pattern of tenant approach has always been very insulting, very disrespectful and intentional undermining of our rights to certain things. We are humans just like them so why should we be treated differently?

I am pleading to bring the program back to what it truly is for by resolving these issues of our concerns from Whippoorwill, Kitstillie and Forest Lake housing subjected to this renovation relocation process.

Alex J. Daw
Whippoorwill, Ariz.

Charges against grazing official not true

Charges against Houck Chapter grazing official are not true, nor did it happen in Ojo Encino, N.M.

All that happened on Feb. 23, 2012, during the appeal hearing was a continuance request was denied. Lew Harrison, Ethics and Rules employee, stated a decision would be made within the next few weeks. He should state the facts and laws before he draws his conclusions.

Apparently, there is no respect for Navajo Nation higher courts by Harrison mentioning prosecution before honorable Navajo Nation judges makes their final rule.

Yet, his headline hastily outlines I was charged with stealing a calf table. The correct statement should read calf table was stolen from Spencer Ranch in Crownpoint, which is now in the hands of our judicial system.

These are the reasons why our Navajo Police are needed to protect citizens when called on, as they did in this situation when livestock apparatus was missing.

To find better things to do, rather than smearing reputation, damaging records and character, Mr. Harrison and Houck Chapter President Ernest Hubbell should go after individuals in the late 80s, early 90s that for a fact stole $43,000 from Houck Chapter. This has never been recovered to this day.

And in 2006 and 2007 community service coordinator and his accounting clerk that took thousands and thousands of dollars, which also has not been recovered.

Houck Chapter members repeatedly have raised questions of this concern, but no formal complaint has ever been established by the chapter president.

What Mr. Hubbell should be doing and by the wishes of the Houck Chapter members, is by attacking Houck Chapter's serious economic problem, plaguing our community for years with endless, declining economic development, and loss of tourism due to lack of leadership by Houck Chapter president working with area citizens, Navajo Nation, county, state, and Navajo business owners.

Houck is one of the few chapters that is located near rich and easy access to the famous, and America's most used highway, I-40. The chapter can easily generate into a rich business venture making extraordinary dollars, but a current leader does not see things what is good for our people.

Leaders come to our chapter time to time telling us that we live near a gold mine, referring to Interstate 40. Yet our chapter's focus, the future of our people's dream is becoming dimmer and dimmer, and some of us want to see our chapter to become the first Navajo community to showcase self-sufficiency with revenue, by building motels, convenient stores, fast food, arts and crafts, horse motel, perhaps a mini casino for the millions and millions of tourism go near our hopeful chapter everyday.

But, all we do is, set aside our chapter's problems and go after innocent people. Which comes to mind that our forefathers established laws, and rules for our great country of ours that says, and been adherence by our American people for decades: "You are innocent until proven guilty".

Not prosecution before courts, that's not the Navajo way.

Herman Spencer
Grazing Official
Houck Chapter
Houck, Ariz.

WR school district problems center on administration

Community activism was encouraged and strongly supported in the Window Rock school district, but lately this has proven to be untrue.

Yes, we all love to support our winning athletic teams but where is the parent involvement for other important aspects of our school system?

In my opinion, the unmet student academic requirements, high teacher turnover, poor student test scores and low morale among faculty and staff is centered on poor management decisions by the school administration.

I believe that these are all attributed to the lack of management skills and knowledge of our superintendent, including those whom she appointed to key positions within the district.

The school board needs to consider who they represent - we, the community - when dealing with the administration. They reward too much and the person doesn't strive to uphold or even raise the bar of excellence.

The Arizona Legislature implemented new criteria for evaluating the school superintendents of the state. So far this requirement has not been implemented in our school district so that we, as parents and concerned community members, may know if our district is meeting or falling below the standard.

In the past three years our school district has not met or maintained the AYP required standards. What happened to the steady progress we were promised and should expect for our children?

The ability for the board to meet and discuss these issues is stifled, because of what? Embarrassment? Intimidation?

The only way to solve problems is to bring them out into the open where ideas can be discussed, debated and then solutions found to address these problems.

But, most importantly, these discussions should not be conducted behind closed-door sessions or as "behind the scenes" maneuvers that produce no real strong solutions that can stand up to public scrutiny.

This has to change and the board must also be held accountable. Parental involvement is needed in order to change the trajectory we are now on to better the future of our children.

Marcus Tulley
St. Michaels, Ariz.

Vets organizations not providing adequate service

Across Navajo, the agency veteran organizations are not providing adequate services to their respective chapter veteran organizations. The biggest shortcoming seems to be that there is no real framework for the agency structure as it currently operates.

Local veterans are left to wonder about resolutions they voted on. Too often the papers, and ideas, are allowed to die somewhere between the agency meeting and the trip home.

The Bahastlah Veterans Organization is requesting clarification from the Fort Defiance Agency Veteran Organization on issues we feel are important to our operation and progress.

Answers to the following questions might help both the agency command and the CVOs in proper understanding of the role of the agency organization:

  • Exactly what is the main function of each of the agency officers? Progress is non-existent if there is no tool to measure it (job description?). Local veterans really are not informed as to the functions and responsibilities of the officers.
  • What guiding documents are in place to ensure the proper direction of the agency organization? Is the old, suspended plan of operation from the 1993 Navajo Veteran Organization still being used, or have fresh papers been drafted and presented to the CVOs for ratification?
  • Is the agency veterans organization a grass-roots entity or does it function under a hierarchical organizational chart? While there may be a need for one or two committees to manage specific projects, the voice of direction must come from the local veteran in order to be effective.
  • Why is the agency meeting agenda given mostly to the veteran service officer and his progress, status, etc., and not focused on the real business and needs of the CVOs?

While we do realize and appreciate the efforts of our VSO, there is more to our agency than the updates, progress and actions. Talk to us and tell us what you and your staff have accomplished, where we're going as an organization. Make things happen!

A former agency commander initiated the 4 percent set-aside; initiated a viable 501(c) 3 not-for-profit veteran organization; initiated training for local veterans to be benefits counselors; developed a model plan of operation for framing the specific CVO plans of operation; instrumental in development and drafting of the Veterans Act process; identified site for proposed veteran cemetery; and assisted in drafting operational guidelines for 19 Pueblos' veterans.

The kind of action we need is mentioned above, real accomplishments, not more administrative meetings and worn out agendas.

Perhaps the CVO needs would be served better if the VSO was allowed to work directly with the local veteran organizations.

A second option is to recall current officers and install new, committed individuals to lead the FDAVO in the development of a realistic plan of operation and marching orders to pursue the interests and needs of the local veteran.

Roy L. Yazzie
Bahastlah Veterans Organization
Kirtland, N.M.

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